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Tag Archive: baking

Baby Frosted Banana Cakes (gluten-free, dairy-free option, paleo, nut-free)

June 25, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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One of my favorite flavor combinations of ALL time is peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon. It’s creamy, sweet, and salty: what could be bad?

Since exploring a paleo-style eating template, I’ve discovered sunflower seed butter: a delicious alternative to my favorite spread. Actually, the two taste very similar: the only noticeable difference for me is that sunflower seed butter has a slightly smoky flavor, but other than that, the two are pretty much identical.

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So why sunflower seed butter over peanut butter or nut butters? First of all, peanuts are not a nut: they are legumes. Like grains, legumes have something called lectins that stick to the lining of our small intestines—and over time, they can prevent the absorption of nutrients and reek other digestive havoc. Basically, they don’t want to be eaten; that’s why beans give people a lot of “tummy troubles!”

They’re also not great sources of protein like popular media claims…legumes are mostly dense carbohydrates, and if you’re looking for protein, you’d really be better off eating a piece of meat or fish. Granted, neither nut butter nor sunflower seed butter is rich in protein, either, but they’re lower in carbohydrates than their beany counterpart. You can read more about legumes here.

For a simpler reason, sunflower seed butter is very allergy-friendly. One of my best friends is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, and when we were younger, she’d have to be extra cautious about what she was eating. If you’re cooking for children, or anyone for that matter, it makes everyone’s life so much easier when what you’re making is extra allergy-sensitive.

This is just my opinion based on what I’ve read—it’s subject to change, and you’re completely entitled to your own take! I still consider plain old peanut butter a much healthier choice than something like packaged chips or cookies…so if you get a peanut butter craving, indulging in a tablespoon or two certainly won’t be the end of the world.

Enough with this science! Let’s get into some food.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin pan with paper or parchment cups. You can make these full-sized, too, but I personally think smaller treats are way cuter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 4 egg whites on high (for me, about setting 8) until soft but NOT stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

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In the bowl of a food processor, blend together 4 egg yolks, 1/4 cup of full-fat, grass-fed cow’s milk, nut milk, OR coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (1 1/2 if using coconut milk), 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

Add in 1 ripe banana and 1/3 cup of melted refined coconut oil and process until completely smooth.

Pour the ingredients in the food processor into the egg whites and gently fold with a spatula to incorporate. Sift in 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and continue folding until no clumps remain.

Scoop a little less than 2 tablespoons of batter into each liner, and bake until golden brown on top and firm, about 25 to 30 minutes.

This next step may seem a little weird, but it REALLY works for gluten-free baked goods. Gently remove the cupcakes from the tin, place on a baking sheet, and bake for an additional 10 minutes to help them firm up a bit.

Let cool completely before frosting.

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This frosting is a snap to make and turns out light and fluffy every time. My recipe is inspired by Tammy Credicott’s Paleo Indulgeneces; if you haven’t read the book, you should definitely check it out!

In the bowl of a stand mixer on high (for me, about setting 8), whip together 1/2 cup of palm shortening, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, 1/3 cup of sunflower seed butter OR almond butter OR peanut butter (if you say screw paleo), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The frosting is done when it’s light, fluffy, and peaks slightly in the center, about 4 to 5 minutes later. In this case, the longer, the better!

With a spatula, scoop the frosting into a large resealable plastic bag. Zip it closed and push the frosting all the way down to one corner. Twist the top a couple times and snip off the corner about 1/2 inch from the edge.

Using a swirling motion, pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, continually twisting the bag’s top and pushing everything down towards the corner. Top each cake with a piece of freeze-dried banana and a dash of cinnamon, if you like.

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Go ahead and bake these for someone you love. Even if this person has allergies, he or she will still be able to enjoy a delicious, healthy treat.

What is your favorite flavor combination? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Chocolate Chip Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

May 16, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

To quote my gluten-free bio teacher, “It was so nice to have a doughnut. I haven’t been able to have one in forever because I can’t eat them.”

That’s right. YOU—yes, you—can have a delicious holed dessert without gluten, grains, dairy, and tons of added sugar. No grease, no junk, no guilt!

The only special equipment you’ll need is a doughnut pan: I got mine for nine bucks off of Amazon, and it worked beautifully.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Have you noticed that 350 is the magic number for baking?) Grease your doughnut pan with a little bit of coconut oil and set aside.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium, beat together 1/3 cup of softened refined coconut oil, 1/4 cup of raw honey OR maple syrup, 1/3 cup of light coconut milk (I used it because it’s more liquid-y than the full-fat stuff), 3 eggs at room temperature, 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla until homogeneous. (I know this seems like a lot, but it’s to cover up the coconut-y-ness of the milk.)

Decide to make these on a whim and have no time patience to bring eggs to room temperature? Here’s a great trick: submerge the eggs in a small bowl of hot water for 5 minutes, and voila! Please, do not use cold eggs—the texture won’t be quite right.

To the wet ingredients, add 2 3/4 cups of blanched almond flour, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Mix on medium until completely combined with the wet ingredients, about 2 minutes longer, then add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips to the dough.

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Scoop the dough into a large plastic bag and seal the top. Make sure you get as much air out as possible! Push everything towards one of the bag’s lower corners and twist the rest of the bag tightly. Make a horizontal cut along that corner, snipping off about 1-2 inches total.

Applying gentle pressure, squeeze the dough around the center of each spot in the doughnut pan. Smooth out the tops with a small spatula or the back of a spoon.

Bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes total. Oven temperatures vary, so always keep an eye on your treats!

Allow the doughnuts to rest in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes before carefully removing to a plate or wire rack to completely cool.

While the doughnuts come to room temperature, make the chocolate glaze. In a small saucepan or in the microwave with 30-second intervals, melt together 4 ounces of dark chocolate and 3 tablespoons of refined coconut oil. Once melted, place in the fridge for 10 minutes before dunking the top of each doughnut in the chocolate.

Let harden in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, then repeat the glaze-dousing process. Return to the freezer for another 5 to 10 minutes before applying the final layer of chocolaty goodness.

Freeze for another 5 to 10 minutes, then dig in immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Now, who wouldn’t want that? A crazy person, that’s who!

For the dairy-free ice cream recipe I used, head on over to Living Healthy with Chocolate. (The verdict? Excellent texture, but experimentation with different brands of coconut milk is needed.)

If there’s a dessert you’d like me to try and make gluten-free/dairy-free/Paleo, leave me a comment on Facebook!


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Chocolate Chip Biscotti with Chocolate Mousse (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

May 7, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Sometimes, you just need dessert. No, not want, NEED.

Pizza? Eh, I can live without it. Chips and Cheetos? No problem. But dessert, especially chocolate…? Uh, I’m not giving either up anytime soon.

The quantity of sugar I used to eat was really what caused my weight to swell. Instead of having a little piece of candy or a bite of someone else’s dessert, I’d eat half a bag of those Dove dark chocolate squares or multiple slices of cake at sleepovers and parties. I craved the sweetness…and bad.

I went many months without eating dessert, saying no to squishy cafeteria cookies and pie at Thanksgiving. Eventually, I weaned myself off of sugar, like the good healthy disciple I am.

But that was no fun. I’d bake cookies or brownies for my parents or friends and never taste a bite! One day, I decided that enough was enough—I wanted dessert again.

Now, however, I consume my sweets healthfully. I bake completely gluten-free and mostly dairy free, sweetening only with small quantities of raw honey or coconut sugar. I have a reasonable portion on Saturdays and Sundays and save really decadent treats for vacation and special occasions.

I love making my dessert and enjoying it, too. And you know what? So can you! In my opinion, a homemade baked good here and there is an important part of any diet…just in moderation. So, if you’re looking for a tasty weeknight or weekend project, try recreating these two incredible desserts. 

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The biscotti were inspired by Gather, one of my new favorite cookbooks. (Yes, I chased the UPS truck to attain my copy.) If you haven’t already taken a peek, definitely check it out.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not use tinfoil, or else you will have crunchy silvery bits in your cookies.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1 egg, 1/3 cup of raw honey, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract on medium (for me, about setting 4) until homogeneous, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of blanched almond flour, 1/3 cup of arrowroot flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Break up any clumps with your hands.

Using a scoop or measuring cup, add about 1 cup of the dry ingredients at a time to the wet ingredients and mix until well-incorporated, about 3 minutes. Then, with a spatula, fold in an additional 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips. (I used Enjoy Life, but you can also use 3 ounces of chopped dark chocolate.)

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Dump all of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and with your hands, flatten it into a 1-inch thick circle-ish-rectangle-thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Bake until golden brown on top but not solid as a rock, about 20 minutes.

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Allow the circle-ish-rectangle-thing to cool for at least 15 minutes, then slice it into eighths. Flip the cookies on their sides so the inside is facing up, and bake for another 15 minutes.

Once beginning to brown on the insides, decrease the oven temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want your biscotti.

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Immediately upon exiting the oven, drizzle the cookies with some melted dark chocolate (I only needed about an ounce to give them a proper coating.) Don’t be stingy…be like Jackson Pollock!

You could always eat these biscotti with a strong espresso and call it a day, but I don’t recommend eating one without this chocolate mousse. It’s insanely easy to make; just do it!

In the bowl of a food processor, blend 4 eggs until airy and pale yellow, about 3 to 4 minutes. Because you’ll be eating the eggs raw, buy the freshest product possible, even if it costs a little extra.

While the eggs blend, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate in a small saucepan or in the microwave with 30-second intervals. I used Alter Eco Blackout Chocolate, which is gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free.

To the eggs, pour in the melted chocolate, 2 tablespoons of strong decaf coffee (not caffeinated, or you’ll be bouncing off the walls), and 1/3 cup of palm shortening. Blend until the consistency of a thick sauce, about 3 minutes, then drizzle in 2 teaspoons of raw honey. Mix for 1 minute more before evenly dividing it between 4 6-ounce ramekins.

Let chill for at least 2 hours (preferably longer) before serving. Top with a dollop of coconut cream and/or fresh fruit to serve.

What dessert is your weakness? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Fudgy Chocolate Banana Brownies (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

April 28, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Hi everyone! Wondering why nothing’s been posted in the past few days?

Well, I was on a trip with my school’s music ensembles to Six Flags. Fun? Yes. I went on the ride pictured below, Batwing, with my friends—it was pretty awesome. I think I screamed the entire time.

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So was healthy food available? Unless you consider a double bacon cheeseburger and fries nutritious, uh, no. I am unbelievably happy to be in contact with real food again.

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OK, I know what you’re thinking: that’s not real food! I wish. Although I don’t recommend eating brownies every day, these are about as close to nutritionally sound as you can get. Save a little room after dinner and allow yourself a moist, fudgy treat.

To ZipList this recipe, click here.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8 baking sheet with parchment paper, then grease with coconut oil. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. I have made brownies too many times to count, and I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t effectively prepare the pan, you’re going to get a big crumbly mess. Please spare yourself from the extra cleanup.

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In a small saucepan, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate over low heat. I used about 3.5 ounces (one bar) of Green’s Organics 85% Dark Chocolate and .5 ounces (one square) of Ghiradelli 100% Baking Chocolate, but feel free to use any chocolate between the 70% and 100% cacao mass range.

While the chocolate melts, puree 2 ripe bananas in the food processor until smooth and the consistency of pancake batter, about 3 minutes. Set aside for later use.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 3 eggs on medium (for me, about setting 6) until light and airy, about 4 minutes. Then, gently pour in 1/4 cup of palm shortening (I buy Spectrum—you can get it at Whole Foods), 1/4 cup of refined coconut oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of raw honey. Mix until combined, about 3 minutes. It may seem a little clumpy, but fear not!

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Scoop in the melted chocolate with a spatula, and mix for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Once combined, add in 1 cup of blanched almond flour, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Mix until thick and homogeneous, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour your batter into the readied pan and smooth with a spatula to evenly distribute. Top with the pureed bananas and swirl with a toothpick, if you like.

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Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 20 minutes. If you’re like me and you like crunchy corners and tops, broil on low for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t go overboard, or you will have desert-dry brownies.

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Immediately upon removing from the oven, dust the tops with about a tablespoon of raw cacao powder. Allow to rest in the pan for 30 minutes before flipping onto a cutting board, slicing, and serving.

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YUM. Nothing like a brownie, eh?

What dessert should I try next? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Guest Post: Strawberry-Almond Cupcakes (gluten-free, Paleo)

April 24, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Here’s the link!

Cupcakes are a great way to enjoy a treat in a pint-sized portion. Unfortunately, many gluten-free cupcakes are dense, flavorless, and/or filled with “fake” ingredients. Who wants to eat that?

These, however, are fluffy, pleasantly sweet, and made with only the best; perfect for a spring or summer party. No fancy Honeywell almond flour? No problem! These only use coconut flour, which I’ve found at a variety of supermarkets, including Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.

To see these fabulous cupcakes, head on over to Living Healthy With Chocolate, one of my favorite food sites. Adriana, the confectionery genius behind the blog, makes mouth-watering Paleo desserts that are super easy to make. Paleo Marble Cake? Coconut Cream Pie? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies? Yes, please!


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